The most difficult part of acclimating to my life at Olin has been the lack of open and potent communion for ideas, skills, abilities, and thoughts. We are a highly resourced, intelligent, and multi-faceted group, yet our pathways for creating and sharing with one another are impeded by some invisible barrier.
I’ve been asking this questions repeatedly for months now, each day revealing new insights, but the most powerful shift in my understanding has been that I am not the only one who feels this way. In fact, so many of us desire to have new channels of expression, new spaces for creation, and most importantly new ways to share and learn with each other. Or, shall we say, more skillshare.
There ought to be a stronger medium for skillshare to occur. We are seeing shifts towards this (SLAC perhaps being the godfather of this cultural evolution) but if this is what we want, all the soft mummers must coalesce into something real.
In DREAM (Designing Resources for Empowerment and Making) we have been exploring what these real solutions might look like. Our nebulous thoughts have condensed into a plan.
With our final project we want to strengthen skillshare culture on campus, by creating means for peer-to-peer teaching. We plan to create new student positions for students who will operate in all aspects of campus learning, to facilitate these interactions beneath the umbrella of the library. The library is an ideal place, as it is morphing into the hub for resources, community, and change. This new role belongs in such a context where the structure and culture we wish to incite are already beginning to exist.
These student facilitators would be in charge of maintaining a database of each student’s skills or ‘superpowers’ that they are willing to teach other students and matching student-learners to student-teachers, as well as serving to facilitate interactions in either capacity. Students would have access to both the student facilitators and the database and could use either/both depending on their need. More loosely, the student facilitator’s purpose is to draw out the ‘superpowers’ of the Olin community, create channels for people to connect with one another, create structure and space for skillshare to happen, protect contributing students from burnout, and form a healthy atmosphere of Make\Share. Ultimately, the student facilitators would help in slowly shifting our culture towards stronger communion of ideas and a more investigative and creative Olin.
The axial goals of the student facilitators are to promote a culture that supports peer-to-peer teaching, and strengthen our community in supporting and valuing one another for our individual interests and skills. This project, and more importantly culture shift, is intended to specifically empower learners to feel more comfortable asking for help and guidance, and to generally empower everyone at Olin by acknowledging their superpowers, obvious and otherwise. In essence: everyone should feel like they have something to contribute, because they do.
It can be intimidating to be around people who know more than you because you feel that you should know those things as well. We are all here to learn more than just what exists within our majors, or at least we should be. We all have so much to offer the community. Whether your skill is being exceptionally knowledgeable about mechanics, nailing an interview, or drawing unicorns, I can guarantee that there is someone at Olin who wants to learn it.
If you are interested in this project and have ideas, feedback for us, or want to help out, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear it, and get you involved!
The collective I,
Hannah, Susie, and Mikhaela